Supreme Court of India
Supreme Court of India

SC penalises States, UTs for not setting up 'Gram Nyayalays'

ANI | Updated: Jan 29, 2020 13:47 IST

New Delhi [India], Jan 29 (ANI): The Supreme Court on Wednesday pulled up several States and Union Territories for failing to set up "Gram Nyayalayas", as per an Act passed by Parliament in 2008 to ensure access to justice for the rural poor.
A Bench headed by Justice NV Ramana imposed a fine of Rs 1 lakh on the government of Assam, Chandigarh, Gujarat, Haryana, Odisha, Punjab, Telangana and West Bengal for not filing their responses in the apex court.
The top court asked the State and union territories to notify setting up Gram Nyayalay within a month.
Justice Ramana observed that some States and UTs have not taken any initiative and no notification has been issued in the matter. The court granted the States and UTs four weeks' time to do the same.
The Supreme Court had on September 2 issued notice to the government at the Centre, States and UTs on a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by NGOs National Federation of Societies for Fast Justice and Society for Fast Justice.
The plea said that directions need to be issued to all the States and UTs to notify and establish Gram Nyayalayas as statutorily provided for under the Gram Nyayalays Act, 2008.
The PIL said that only 208 Gram Nyayalayas are functioning in the country as against 2,500 estimated to be required by the 12th five-year plan. It said so far only 11 states have taken steps to notify Gram Nyayalayas.
For the purpose of providing access to justice to citizens at their doorsteps and to ensure that opportunities for securing justice are not denied to any citizen by reason of social, economic or other disabilities, an Act was passed by Parliament in 2008, provided for the establishment of 'Gram Nyayalayas' at the grass-roots level.
Sections 5 and 6 of the Act provide that the state government in consultation with the High Court will appoint a Nyayadhikari for each Gram Nyayalaya, who will be a person eligible to be appointed as a Judicial Magistrate of the First Class. (ANI)